July 19 (Reuters) - Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso has said that playing in empty stadiums, coupled with the hectic fixture list, have made him feel like his team are playing a different sport.
After watching Napoli battle to a 2-1 home win over Udinese in Serie A on Sunday, Gattuso said it was wrong to judge players by the usual standards and inconsistency was to be expected.
“We are playing another sport —- without fans and playing so often, this not football,” he said.
“The players are not robots and you get strange results. You can’t say anything bad about this Napoli team, we have to be satisfied. We are getting results even if we are not brilliant.”
Napoli, who are in sixth place with 56 points, have guaranteed a place in next season’s Europa League as Coppa Italia winners and are focusing on their Champions League last 16 second leg in Barcelona next month with the score at 1-1.
Gattuso said he was not concerned about a rise of novel coronavirus cases in the Barcelona region, which on Friday prompted authorities to urge residents only to leave their homes for essential trips.
“It’s natural to worry about it but it’s not my job to deal with that. It’s up to the (club) president and his staff — they’ll sort it out,” he said. (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)